The Golden Compass, based on the first book of the His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman, is an amazing cinematic feat in realizing this astounding world of daemons and dust. I would have loved this movie as a child. Heck, I loved it as an adult! The animatronics were nearly flawless as Lyra’s daemon quickly morphed from one form to another, bird to ferret and back again as it skipped over obstacles on a dinning table. Or the way her use of the alethiometer was objectified as particles of dust forming her thoughts and coming to conclusions; that was just astounding and surpassed what was presented in the books. I was just swept away by this new world. I was overwhelmed by this film.
Then there was the flawless acting by perfectly chosen cast. Niclole Kidman was subtly evil as Mrs. Coulter, Daniel Craig was superbly removed and egotistical as the good guy hero, Sam Elliot was perfect as Lee Scoresby as if the part was written for him, and Dakota Blue Richards did very well as Lyra Belacqua in her first time out. Vocal performance by Ian McKellen as the armored ice bear Iorek Byrnison was stellar.
The sets and costuming earn a mention also. When Mrs. Coulter takes Lyra off to
The Magisterium was ominous and mysterious as portrayed by the myriad dark robed officials with their monastic bling and malicious intent toward our heroine and Lord Asriel. The whole mystery of dust was compelling as well. What are these little glowing bits of particles that connect us all but are not to be discussed, especially by children? I found the movie thought provoking and felt that it stood on its own, whether you read the books or not. But, you can be the judge of that.
Much like The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, where after seeing each one, I was ready to view the next installment and I knew they were already made. After this I was ready for the next. I was totally flummoxed to think that it was not made yet. I despair to think that it would never be made. What a shame that would be.
**** of five stars